Happy Mother’s Day

No, I’m not a mother; but I had a great Mom.  Well, I will amend that to I have a great Mom, she’s just in a different place now.Funny how things change, at times I feel as though I am the mother and she is the child.  I once thought if I had had kids I would be better equipped to deal with Mom and dementia.  I’ve talked to several people and they have said it doesn’t help.   Mainly it has been flying by the seat of my pants and lots of help from people who know more about dementia than I do.

When I think of Mother’s Day in relation to my own Mom, it’s a bit tricky.  Only because she has always felt it was ridiculous to make a big todo one day of the year – as if that covers the whole year.  When we were kids, we  wanted to give her breakfast in bed as a treat.  Unfortunately it really wasn’t a treat for her because she hates breakfast in bed.  But apparently Dad talked into letting us do it because it meant a lot to us.  It must have been a bit hard on Mom to be willing to go along with it.   Let’s face it, television, ads, magazines, etc. all said this is the proper thing to do for Mother’s Day.  Doesn’t always take into consideration what a mom might find a pleasure.

Eddie and I lived away from here for a long time, so we usually weren’t here for Mother’s Day.  We usually sent flowers and depending on what we knew Mom liked, we sent her something else as well.  When we were here, we often took Mom and Dad to dinner and went on outings – often places Eddie had never been.  It was fun doing things or going places with my parents, they sometimes felt more like good friends than parents.  We also called them just to see what was happening and hear their voices.

Growing up, I really didn’t understand how blessed the three of us girls were that Mom was a stay at home Mom.  No doubt I took her for granted; until high school.  I had a friend who lived one  the bus stop before mine and occasionally she invited me to her house after school.  Her Mom had to work because her Dad died  a little after the end of WWII.  What I noticed was how empty and cold her house was, no one was home to greet her.  It wasn’t so much physical  temperature as no warmth of someone greeting her.  I began to realize how much I had because when I came home from school, Mom was there.  She might be in the basement ironing and there was the smell of clean clothes; or she would be baking cookies and the aroma of lovely cookies.  On rare occasions  she wasn’t home but I knew she would be back very soon.  Or we would go to the library or maybe to the Sears catalog store.

That’s when I became aware that not everyone had the same”Father Knows Best” childhood.  Funny how I assumed that everyone was like us.  I still assume a couple has always been married to each other because my Mom and Dad have only been married to each other.  It brings me up short to find out one or both of the couple have been married before, or an older couple has only been married a short time.  My parents never argued, something I can say about us, but then I saw that other people’s parents do fight.  In many ways we had a very sheltered childhood.

I remember Mom coming to the Mother Daughter Tea every year, I suspect she did it for Ellen and Candy as well.  Because Mom is more confident on her own home ground, it must have been difficult to meet all those strangers in one afternoon.  I appreciated that she did come.  Mom is quiet and shy in many ways, once she knows people she is more comfortable.

The past 2 or 3 Mother’s Days have been very different because Mom isn’t always aware of what is going on, often she seems surprised and unsure about what it all means.  As soon as I get dressed, Eddie and I are going to visit Mom.  I have a gift from my sister Candy to give her and Friday when I saw her, I gave her the maple sugar candy Ellen sent.  Eddie has a really hard time seeing Mom the way she is, I don’t remember the last time he came.  It isn’t always easy for me to visit twice a week, sometimes I don’t want to go – I want to run away and let someone else do it for a while.  She can carry on a conversation but I need subtitles because I don’t speak or understand her language now.  She says it in a very conversational tone – I once asked her if it made sense to her and she said yes.   Lately she has been droopy, though she has meds that make her sleepy.  A little chocolate and cookies sometimes perks her up, sometimes not – but she loves them.

Well, time to get dressed so I wish all mothers


2 Responses to “Happy Mother’s Day”

  1. Charlotte Trayer Says:

    As we’ve talked about in the past, Liz, when your mom gets like this (and as my mom got before she died), you just have to kind of “go with the flow” and do what seems to work at the moment. Tomorrow it might not work, and you’ll have to do something different.

    For what it’s worth, I think you are doing a great job. You have your mom in a safe place, with people who care watching out for her. You bring her treats, you talk to her, listen to what she says (whether you know what it is or not), and are just generally very supportive of her. You are a good daughter, and you should never have any regrets about all you have done for and with her over the years.

    Being a daughter myself, I know there are times when we do have “issues” with our moms, but in the long run, it’s not the occasional issues that count but what you do and did on a day-to-day basis.

    Love to both you and your mom!

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      One of the reasons I haven’t gone completely bananas is having your friendship and understanding about this situation. You have always given me good advice and encouragement and I am so happy we never lost touch. Thank you for your very lovely words, I really needed to hear them – I wonder sometimes wonder what else I can do or if I am doing what’s best for my Mom. Yes, there are “issues”, but interestingly enough, the dementia has slapped me in the face with some of them. Now I understand why I do some of the things I do or react to some things. Now that I am aware of some of those programs, I am working on making positive changes in me. I will no doubt be hit upside the face with more, the difference is, I understand better now.

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